Last shout for former Beach Hotel manager

GOOD TIMES: John Cornell and John Murray at the opening of the Beach Hotel in 1991.
GOOD TIMES: John Cornell and John Murray at the opening of the Beach Hotel in 1991. Doug Eaton

MORE than 300 friends and family packed into the Byron Bay Golf Club on Friday to remember local character and former manager of the Beach Hotel John Murray, who died suddenly last Sunday, aged 73.

Outside the rain came down while inside friends and family celebrated the life of a man renowned for his ability to connect with others and make them laugh.

His daughter, Trudy Murray, welcomed everyone to her father's last shout.

"I adored my father and was very close to him," Ms Murray said.

"I am not surprised at the number of people here today. He was so loved in the community.

"He was a larger than life character and as a grandfather he always went above and beyond his duty."

Her partner Dave Godden said his father-in-law's funeral held earlier in the day in Ballina had been full of laughter and tears

"John had an impact on so many people and their lives," Mr Godden said.

"He was generous to people, helping out with his connections through his personal and business life."

Mr Godden said Mr Murray's ability to maintain lifelong friendships was something that set him apart.

"I saw a photograph of him in primary school yesterday and six of those friends are here with us today," he said.

Many who spoke at the memorial remembered Mr Murray's love of the beach and football, and his ability to connect with everyone from multi-millionaires to ditch-diggers.

He was a lifelong friend of John Cornell and helped him transform the Beach Hotel from a tiny beachside watering hole in 1990 into one of the country's most successful pubs.

"Johnny Murray was one of my closest friends. We met at the age of six in Bunbury, Western Australia. He was an excellent publican and one of the main reasons we built the Beach Hotel," Mr Cornell said

Mr Murray's younger brother Chris travelled from Bunbury in Western Australia to be at Friday's memorial.

He said coming to Byron Bay to help establish the Beach Hotel had been a turning point in his brother's life

"He was larger than life and a wonderful brother," he said.

"He loved people and people loved him, and his family and friends were the greatest love of his life

"Sadly, the world will not be the same with him gone."

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